Note: A slightly-modified version of this post is also a guest post on guest post on Lazaro Cooks! … what can I say? I’m busy, swamped, ready to sell my favorite blender for a slow-paced afternoon – whatever you dear readers call having no free time nowadays. Gotta milk whatever I write, right? Thanks for having me as a guest poster on your admirable blog, Lazaro!
As many of you know, I became a registered dietitian last July and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the nutrition profession. Upon introducing myself to others as a registered dietitian, people will typically ask me some version of the same question. What do you think that question is? Is it:
(a) “By golly, Jessie, how do you stand eating rabbit food all day long?”
(b) “What’s a registered dietitian? (Or, even better: “What’s a registered dianitian?” )
(c) “Will you avert your gaze from the fried chicken I am cradling in my hand?”
(d) “How should I eat?”
Okay, I need to confess: I’ve been asked versions of ALL these questions; however, what’s the question I’ve been asked the most? If you answered (d), a high-five and hearty pat on the back for you!
So, what’s my answer? A short version: eat real food. By real food, I mean unprocessed, perishable foods composing a diet that consists mostly of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains, and a small amount of healthy fats. Notice I said “perishable” – some packaged foods will have the word “fresh” emblazoned on the front, but you aren’t fooled, right? And, notice I said “mostly” – I subscribe to the “always, sometimes” diet.
…”Ah, ha!” you say, “This girl, RD is passing off Michael Pollan‘s words as her own!” True, Michael Pollan’s “Eat Food” mantra brought the current fixation with packaged and processed foods over fresh and unprocessed foods to public prominence. Yet, people have been thinking about – and, even better, unconsciously choosing – real foods for time immemorial. We have reached an age where people must turn to experts for guidance on how to eat. Strange, yes? I will do my part, of course, but I mourn the loss of unconsciously healthy food choices.
Luckily, we dietitians have people like Lazaro helping to spread the word! Think of Lazaro as my RD sidekick, if you will. His commitment to using fresh, sustainable ingredients in creative ways is part of a trend that I am thrilled to see across the blog world and into the real world. With a little work, I believe we can return to making healthier food choices without a second thought. The choice is OURS.
What can a hungry health- and eco-concious cook do right now? Why, make dishes like “I Choose YOU! Shrimp Scampi“, of course!
Unfortunately, most shrimp consumed in the U.S. are imported from other countries where regulations concerning production are poorly controlled. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want eat contaminated shrimp if I can help it. I choose U.S.-caught shrimp whenever possible – yes, domestic shrimp often is more expensive than imported shrimp, but I have made a conscious choice to enjoy foods that are better for my health and for the environment. For a good guide on ocean-friendly seafood, check out this link.
8 oz. shrimp, domestic if possible
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter (omit if desired)
Red pepper flakes
Whole wheat pasta or brown rice, cooked
Cook pasta or rice and arrange on warm plates. Defrost shrimp if necessary and make sure shrimp are very dry. Place flour on large plate and mix in smoked paprika if desired (I add the paprika when I want to give the shrimp a little kick). Lightly dredge shrimp in flour and place on another plate.
Place a frying pan over high heat until very hot. Add oil and butter and allow butter to melt. Add shrimp immediately and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning once halfway through. Don’t overcook! Remove shrimp to the plates with pasta or rice and set aside.
Add a little more oil to the frying pan if necessary and place over medium heat. Add garlic and stir for no more than 30 seconds. Drizzle garlic/oil mixture over shrimp and pasta/rice, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and torn fresh parsley. Squeeze lemon over all if desired.
Serve immediately and enjoy! I often eat this dish with grilled summer squash or sautéed Swiss chard.
To all you dear readers: keep it real! Peace.
Q: What’s your food philosophy?